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First Degree Murder vs. Second Degree Murder

 Posted on June 16, 2013 in Criminal defense lawyer

We often hear the terms “first degree murder” and “second degree murder” on the news, on television shows, and in the movies, but not many people know the small yet major differences between the two crimes. It is important to know the specific criteria for each of these two crimes, and your Cook County criminal attorney can help you with any questions you may have.

By definition, first degree murder is murder that is planned and committed against one or more persons, under a few various special circumstances. These special circumstances can include, but are not limited to, combining murder with other offenses such as kidnapping, hijacking, robbery, involving extreme torture, and a few others. The crime is considered even more serious if the offender has committed a similar crime in the past.

Second degree murder, on the other hand, is premeditated murder against spouse or relatives, or due to personal gain and interest, without the special circumstances aforementioned. Typically, second degree murder is seen as less grave than first degree, but not by much.

The penalties for first degree and second degree murder vary slightly. A person who is convicted of first degree murder generally must serve at least 25 years in prison without parole, depending on the state’s laws. If a person commits second degree murder, however, they will probably face 10 to 25 years in prison with or without parole. It is also true that there can be exceptions to these penalties, depending on the age and state of mind of the murder as well as the environmental circumstances surrounding the crime.

First and second degree murder vary in subtle, but important ways. If you have any questions about the two different crimes, whether you have been involved in one or not, feel free to contact an experienced Cook County criminal attorney to assist you.

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